Studio Barre Dancers

Studio Barre- Hot or Not?

So the company I work for has an affiliate studio relationship with a local Ottawa-based studio barre business called iNSiDE Out. After over a year of hearing all about studio barre and how much everyone liked it, I figured I’d give it a shot.

Being a competitive dancer growing up, I competed my entire life in jazz, tap, ballet, hip-hop, modern, contemporary, and much more. I was always curious about studio barre but wasn’t sure if I would either love it because of it’s roots in dance or hate it because it would be too far removed from dancing.

Bottom line, I went to a class at iNSiDE Out and loved it. The studio is bright, spacious, modern, and clean. And the instructors and staff are friendly and so accommodating. The class targeted many major body muscle groups, specifically core and obliques, triceps, and glutes. As an avid weight trainer, I often struggle with targeting my glutes specifically. I’m always looking for new ways to target my glutes without exhausting my quads or tweak my workouts to better target my glutes. Well, studio barre does the trick.

What is studio barre? Studio barre uses a traditional ballet barre as well as resistance bands and other small equipment to target the thighs, glutes, arms, and core. The exercises are low-impact and use small, slight movements that have a big impact on muscles. It really is incredible how simple the exercises are yet my glutes are so sore today! I will definitely be back.

What is your experience with studio barre? Would you ever try it?

You can check out iNSiDE Out Studio Barre in Ottawa here.

Studio Barre Dancers

Women’s Only Vs. Co-ed Gyms

As women we face a very troubling decision when it comes to choosing our gym locations. On one hand, we can get sweaty with all our lady-friends in a smaller, often quieter, women’s-only gym, OR we can kick it with the big boys in co-ed. Either way, some compromises have to be made, and the decision isn’t always easy:

Women’s Only

The Women’s Only gyms first hit the scene in Canada with Goodlife’s female-friendly gyms above Loblaws grocery stores. Soon, the variety of women’s only options grew, with many clubs offering both: a co-ed gym with a smaller section that is only for women. What are the benefits to having a women’s only gym?

  • Less Pressure: Well, probably the most obvious and the reason most of these women choose to work out with their female peers is that it avoids pressure of having to workout in front of the opposite sex. For many women, getting the courage to hit the gym deserves a reward in itself; they don’t want to have to worry about the pressure of doing it in front of men. 
  • Beginner-Friendly: Women’s only gyms are often great for beginners, since they usually have a wide selection of cardio machines and guided, basic weight machines. However, for avid gym-goers, or hardbodies, this can be incredibly frustrating. There is often not even a proper squat rack and the selection of free weights if often small.
  • Stay Focused: There’s nothing worse than coming to the gym and having to be distracted by 20 pairs of eyes on you as you hit the squat rack. As much as I’m sure many of these men are harmless, it is a phenomenon that women face when working out with their male peers. There’s nothing wrong with some friendly conversation or sharing a piece of machinery between sets, just don’t be weird about it guys!

Co-Ed Gyms

  • Better Selection: Co-ed gyms always have the better equipment: more free-weights, cables, squat racks, you name it. Women’s-only gyms aren’t nearly as friendly to women who actually lift. This is the #1 reason why I choose co-ed gyms over women’s-only ones.
  • Unwanted Male Attention: This is the downside of co-ed gyms for female weightlifters. Often you come to the gym, water in-hand, iPod blasting, and have to deal with more attention than you want. Even if it’s just a few extra stares, some days it can be distracting or even discouraging you’re I’m feeling off your game and you feel like you have to try not to mess up. Believe me, I’m not talking about a nice compliment or friendly conversation– those are great! It’s usually the guy wearing 3 layers of sweatpants, clearly not-in-shape but pretends to be, doing his deadlifts wrong, who makes an effort to stare heavily and work out close to you. To those people: get a personality, put on a smile, and focus on your own workout!
  • Judgement: This is just my experience. I find women’s only gyms to be a much better judgement-free zone. Co-ed gyms I often try to root or say hi to that person who you can tell is new to the gym and may be intimidated. These people often need your encouragement and support more than you know!
  • Males: This is the one of best parts of co-ed gyms– getting to work out with guys! Not only can they offer advice, be a good spotter, or push you when you need it, they can just be fun to workout with! If you’re considering a gym, consider who you plan to go to the gym with. Do you really want to buy a membership somewhere where you can never workout with 50% of the population? This excludes workouts with your boyfriend, brother, husband, father, and friends, and working out in pairs can be equally as rewarding!

Overall, it’s safe to say that I always choose co-ed gyms, but there are certainly some days I consider hitting up the women’s only gyms for some privacy and space. Where do you prefer to workout– co-ed or women’s only gyms?

Naked 2 Palette

Summer Must-Haves: July

This summer, being cooped up at home due to jaw surgery caused me to go a little blog-crazy. Between YouTube beauty channels, fashion blogs, and social media If I went out and bought all of the products I wanted, I would probably need to sell my house. SO– what I did is I compiled a list of all of my favourite pieces that I can’t get off my mind. Now this doesn’t mean I will purchase them all, but I will certainly be strategically hunting these beauty’s down one-by-one.


  • Nars Ita Brush- as you may have seen in my past posts, this contour brush from Nars is rumoured to be incredible. Finding the real deal has proven to be challenging, but in the meantime I have found a dupe that is only $16. Find it here: Nars Ita Brush- Blue Wind Beauty and check out my blogpost on the Nars Ita brush.
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  • Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm- Amazingly beautiful highlighter. Click here for my blog post on the Mary-Lou Manizer. In Canada you can find it online at
  • Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette- I can’t believe I don’t have this already. It’s definitely on the list for this month. You can find it at Sephora, of course or click here.
    Naked 2 Palette
  • Hello Hair- after all the Instagram rave about this super-hydrating hair mask, I NEED to order it from their online Australian website- Hello Hair
  • Bondi Sands- this one I’m MOST excited about. The Bondi Sands International Shipping website just opened this month. It’s a self-tanner that is beautiful, long-lasting, and inexpensive. After all I’ve read about this product I need to try it. The great thing about Bondi Sands and Hello Hair is that both of these Australian brands have low flat-rate shipping.
    Bondi Sands Self Tan



  • #girlboss- if you haven’t already picked up a copy of Sophia Amoruso, founder of online clothing empire Nasty GalI recommend it. I haven’t read it yet, but ordered my copy for half price from Indigo. You can also find it on Amazon here- #girlboss

What are YOUR summer must haves for July? Share them with me!


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Beauty Celebrity of the Day- The ‘Mary-Lou Manizer’ by The Balm

I call it a beauty celebrity because it’s like a real celebrity. BAM! Just like that, it’s being talked about, blogged about, YouTube is blowing up with reviews about it, and it seems like this beauty item craze is everywhere.

That’s what happened with the NARS Ita brush, and now that’s what happened with the Mary-Lou Manizer by The Balm. I have read and heard so much about it all at once that I can’t help but want it. I’m intrigued. Especially since my focus lately has been so much on contouring, and this is apparently my dream highlighter.

I’ve heard of this luminizer being used as a highlighter, eyeshadow, and overall shimmer, so it’s definitely multi-purpose. The product is extremely pigmented, so less is more in this case. If you want a more subtle highlight, use a fluffy duo fibre brush and brush gently over your cheekbones and cupids bow

The problem? Like many awesome things in life, it is more difficult to get your hands on when you live in Canada. For those of you the the US, you can pick it up here at Nordstrom, Sephora, or The Balm‘s own website. 

For those of us in Canada, I did find a site called Nail Polish Canada that carries it. They also have some awesome nail polish brand, and sometimes they have some sweet coupon/promo codes. The best part? Shipping is free! Mine is on the way.

What are your favourite highlighting and contour products?

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The Wonderful World of Contour- The NARS Ita Brush

Okay, so I am new to the world of contour. Part of the excitement around getting jaw surgery is that I will finally have cheekbones! That’s right, SARPE surgery, as much as it sucks, widens your upper palate and gives you cheekbones. This has opened me up to the wonderful world of contour!

For those of you who are new to contour (like I was), contour is the process of playing with shadowing and highlighting to define cheekbones, slim your face, and highlight your face to give it definition and femininity. It is also the most beautiful and life-changing beauty-routine addition in the world. 

I was especially inspired initially by Casey Holmes’ Video Here- “How I Contour & Highlight”. Also check out every other video she does. She’s incredible. 

Anyways, her video introduced me to the infamous NARS Ita Brush, and after researching it, it is clear that she’s not the only beauty blogger who is in love with this brush. The problem? No one seems to be able to get their hands on it. Nordstrom is sold out, I can’t find it at Holt Renfrew, and even the NARS Cosmetics website doesn’t have it. There are rumours of it being discontinued but other people saying it’s sold out.

 Does anyone know how to get their hands on a NARS Ita brush? This girl has new cheekbones and needs to get her contour on! Better yet, what are your favourite brushes? Any you use for contour specifically?

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UPDATE: I did find a NARS Ita Brush ‘lookalike’ at Blue Wind Beauty here>

It ships from Hong Kong so who knows if it’s the real thing or just a lookalike but I will be sure to review it once I get it. Judging by the fact that it was only $3.50 shipping from Hong Kong to Canada, it may take a while! In the meantime, keep me updated if you find the real thing!

4 Days After SARPE Surgery

Attached is the link to my video shot 4 days after one wisdom tooth extraction, and two baby teeth pulled, and SARPE surgery. For those of you who don’t know, SARPE surgery involves the surgeon breaking the upper palate bone in half, a metal piece being inserted, and every day after surgery the patient turns the key in order to activate the metal device, push their jaw open wider horizontally, and eventually the jaw bone fuses as a much wider, larger upper palate.

Lots of swelling, lots of pain medication, and lots of liquids later, the swelling has gone down and the bruising has started slightly. A small gap has started to form between my two front teeth. My surgeon has me turning it once in the morning and once at night. I also have been using an ice wrap that velcro wraps around my head. This helped a lot with the pain and swelling.

People have been asking me what the worst part is, and I’ll tell you it’s the combination of doing these three procedures in one. One of the baby teeth ran very deep and no adult tooth grew to replace it. The surgeon had to stitch the hole closed after extracting the baby tooth, and yesterday that stitch came out, exposing a very sensitive nerve in my gum. The stitches from the wisdom tooth and the jaw surgery also get caught on the metal appliance in my mouth and tangle around it. It. Is. Excruciating. And that, ladies and gentleman, is the worst part. I mean the swelling, bruising, and liquid food diet suck, but they’re really not bad compared to those stitches catching. My only suggestion is to put some gauze in there if it happens to you to prevent them from rubbing, rinse your mouth A LOT with salt and water or a gentle mouthwash, and use an ice pack often. Otherwise, you just have to tough it out.

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Joe Fresh Beauty! Sailor Nail Polish

     So I recently discovered Joe Fresh nail polish and I have to say I am impressed! Especially for the price. For anyone who is not familiar with Joe Fresh, it’s the house-brand of clothing and beauty products at the Loblaws Grocery and Superstores. The polish comes in a small bottle (maybe half the size of an OPI bottle) but they’re only $4 each, or 3 for $10! This is awesome for anyone who loves different colours of polish but doesn’t always want to spend $10-13 each just to experiment with a colour they may not love. 

     So I bought three colours- White, Navy, and Sour Citron, and used the White and Navy to copy a Pinterest sailor-themed picture I discovered yesterday > Sailor Polish- Pinterest. The photo was originally done with Zoya Nail polish (which I also love!), but I have to say I was really impressed with the Joe Fresh brand. Both the white and navy went on thick and clean, with no clumps and they both could have done with just one coat!

Needless to say, I will be going back to Joe Fresh the next time I need some quick, cheap colours.

As for the design, it didn’t work out quite as nice as the Pin, especially seeing as I had to get my boyfriend’s help with the right hand. But overall it was an awesome sailor-themed idea. 

Does anyone know where I can get those strips to do stripes as seen in the Pin? What other cool ideas and designs have you experimented with? Share them below or tweet me! Happy Sunday!



If You Are What You Eat, Then I Want to Be Fresh, Healthy, and Alive

This morning’s Peach, Mango & Spinach smoothie of the day is a GREAT way to start off the day.

1 1/2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce
1 large oversized handful of fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup of unsweetened soy/coconut/almond milk (today I used soy)
1 whole peach (pitted)
1 whole mango (pitted)
2 scoops of Melaleuca’s Fibre Wise powder (this step is not absolutely necessary, I just like to start my day off with some extra fibre and this stuff works the best)

Blend until smooth and creamy. I used a Vitamix because I find it makes everything smooth and doesn’t leave chunks of spinach. Top with shelled hemp hearts and serve.

Serves two.

This one is boyfriend-approved! If he eats it I know it’s good. Tastes like apples and peaches and is PACKED with fibre and vitamins. 20140712-121003-43803865.jpg


Watermelon Juice- Your New Summer Go-To

While recovering from jaw surgery, I was eager to get a little creative with the blender. Probably the simplest, yet most delicious and refreshing treat I discovered was watermelon juice. Not only is watermelon packed with vitamins and minerals, it is also cleansing for your kidneys AND acts as an anti-inflammatory. Apparently it is even good for weight loss.

It’s super simple too. Just cut up your watermelon (you can include some of the rind, it won’t hurt you) blend it up nicely, and voilà!

To spice things up you can also add some honey for sweetness, blend in other fruits for flavour, or my personal favourite— add some fresh mint leaves and ice cubes for a watermelon-mint smoothie.

Happy blending!